Stunned Bird Symptoms, (7 Signs, + How To Help It)

Birds are usually active, happy-go-lucky animals that fly around throughout the day. Birds collide with objects and become stunned quite often, this can be scary if you think that the bird is dead. This article explores signs to look for that will tell you if a bird is stunned or not 

The most accurate way to check whether a bird is stunned or not is by checking its heartbeat and its breathing using a stethoscope. Its eyes and reaction to you will also help you figure out if it’s stunned. 

Stunned bird symptoms:

Window collisions make up a large portion of bird deaths. Bird deaths, as a result of birds colliding into windows, are responsible for between 365 million and a billion bird deaths. Here is how to tell if a bird is stunned: 

Fluffed feathers:

If a bird has just knocked into an object, like a window, its feathers are bound to be disturbed by the collision. Its feathers will look fluffed up.


A stunned bird will be in shock, its whole body will be in shock and it won’t be able to move its body. 


If you have a stethoscope available, you can check the bird to see if it has a heartbeat. A present heartbeat is a sign that the bird is alive and just stunned. A dead bird will have no heartbeat.

Because a bird’s cardiac rhythm is different from human cardiac rhythms, a live bird’s heartbeat will be low and slow.

Does not try to escape:

Birds see humans as predators. If you get close to the bird, and it does not try to fly away, then it is stunned, that being said, it still likely feels fear.


The bird will still be breathing if stunned, you’ll know that it is breathing because its beak will be open. A bird that is stunned will breathe in slowly and breathe out quickly. If the bird is dead you will not see any breathing.

If the bird has labored breathing, then the bird may have an even bigger issue, like a respiratory infection, on its hands. If the bird isn’t breathing at all, then the bird is probably dead  


If the bird is stunned, its eyes will still be active and open but they may be swollen, crusty, squinting or, bleeding.

The bird’s eyes should still respond to your hand movements if it is alive. If its eyes are closed then it is likely dead. 

How long will a bird stay stunned? 

The length of time that the bird will stay stunned for depends on how hard the impact of the collision was. The harder the impact, the longer the bird will be stunned. for

Some birds will stay stunned for about 5 minutes, some can stay stunned for 15 minutes, others will even stay stunned for several hours.

As long as the bird isn’t dead, and isn’t injured, and as long as you don’t need to take the bird to a wildlife rehabilitation center, then the bird will likely make a full recovery on its own


How to treat a stunned bird?

Start by keeping an eye on the bird but don’t touch it, some birds will quickly recover after colliding with something. Keeping an eye on the bird and staying in the area, will keep predators away from the bird. 

If the bird is injured, the best thing to do for it is to take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. If the bird is not injured you can take care of it yourself at home 

If the bird is still stunned after 5 minutes, carefully pick it up, keeping it upright so it can breathe, and place the bird in a dark box lined with a soft cloth or paper towels. Put a lid on the box with holes poked at the top of it. 

Leave the box in a dark, quiet place and let the bird calm down and recover. Check on the bird after 15 minutes of being in the box

Once the 15 minutes are over, and if the bird has recovered, then you can release the bird. Take the box far away from your home and open the lid and allow the bird to fly out 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other baby bird related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Do Birds Use Other Birds Nests, How To Help A Choking Bird, Bird Bleeding From Bottom, Why Did My Baby Bird Die?

Stunned Bird Symptoms, (7 Signs, + How To Help It)
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